Financing war. Stiglitz and Blimes’ calculate the cost.

March 5, 2008

Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes (lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School) have just released a new book entitled The Three Trillion Dollar War (published by the incomparable Norton Press).   The title, plastered all over the press, gives away the basic argument: it’s a calculation for the estimated cost of the war.

Like all good financial figures, this is a projection – an estimation that includes future costs, such as the long term responsibility of providing health care to disabled veterans.  (For a visual image outlining the argument see here).

An estimate of the actual costs of the war is available on a moving counter at the National Priorities Project website.  It is noteworthy that two years ago, the suggestion of a one trillion dollar war was still barely believable. 

The Stiglitz and Blimes book, released yesterday is available on Amazon, where, in the US at least, it’s selling for a curious 32% off the cover price.   And incidentally, Fox News, which publishes many trillion dollar reports, had nothing to say about it.  Guess their book reviewer can’t read as fast as Charles Taylor, who must have stayed up all night to get his review in to Bloomberg today.

2 Responses to “Financing war. Stiglitz and Blimes’ calculate the cost.”

  1. typewritten Says:

    Interesting. Do they talk about the war’s business model? Because some other clever economists could now pop up explaining that this is a two-sided market or something.

  2. yuvalmillo Says:

    He gave a talk here (LSE) the other day, promoting the book, and it is, at least from my perspective a very interesting exercise in political economy of accounting. That is, how the valuate assets and liabilities positioned in a framework of ‘nation building’ (if you trust the project) or ‘regional de-stabilisation’ (if you don’t).


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